Leilehua Teacher Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug Charge - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Leilehua Teacher Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug Charge

Federal Court Federal Court
Michael Kawahara Michael Kawahara
Howard Duke Howard Duke

By: Minna Sugimoto

(KHNL) - Teacher by day, drug dealer at night. An Oahu public school teacher faces hard time, after he goes before a federal judge and pleads guilty to selling ice.

Family and friends of school teacher Lee Anzai are learning a tough lesson -- how drugs can affect the people you love.

"They're very afraid for his future," Howard Luke, defense attorney, said. "They know that they will have to spend a great deal of time without him being physically present."

The 29-year-old faces 10 years to life in prison, after he pleads guilty to a methamphetamine distribution charge.

"More than anyone else who would know about say the dangers of drug abuse, it's, it's him," Michael Kawahara, Assistant US Attorney, said. "And nevertheless, he persisted in doing it."

Anzai has been a special education teacher at Leilehua High School for the past six years. Federal agents arrested him in the Long's Drug Store parking lot on Pali Highway in October.

Although he pleads guilty to a single count, he does now admit he sold crystal meth to an undercover officer on five separate occasions.

"At least on one of these transactions, he was negotiating the sale of drugs while sitting in his classroom, you know, at the school," Kawahara said. "And that, to me, is a very aggravating matter that has to be taken into account when he's sentenced."

The judge approved Anzai's release from federal custody pending his sentencing in June. But he must enter and complete a residential drug treatment program at Hina Mauka, and submit to random drug and alcohol testing. The judge told Anzai if he violates the conditions of his release, he will "be back in prison in a heartbeat."

"He is remarkably rehabilitated already, in my opinion, very remorseful," Luke said. "And he intends to make right and to pay his debt to society."

As of now, Anzai still works for the Department of Education. He's currently on leave without pay.

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